NASCAR’s Pro Invitational esports series will use the championship’s next-generation Cup car due to race in 2022 as part of its star-studded Wednesday night event this week.
NASCAR’s next-gen car has tested 11 times since October 2019 in real life, and on Wednesday afternoon at 1500 ET each manufacturer – Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota – will reveal its challenger for the 2022 season in an event in Charlotte, North Carolina.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 5, 2021
In the evening, the new car – also labelled Gen-7 – will make its Pro Invitational Series debut as the majority of NASCAR’s current stars, as well as fan vote driver Jesse Iwuji and series legends Dale Earnhardt Jr and Bobby Labonte, race at Darlington Motor Speedway.
It is the third NASCAR Pro Invitational race of the season. Last year during the pandemic NASCAR’s iRacing-based series was a huge success as it featured whole real-life grids and realistic racing in prime-time TV slots vacated by a lack of on-track action.
This year, William Byron won the Bristol dirt race to start the returning Pro Invitational Series, while Brad Keselowski won the Talladega race, and then repeated the victory in real life.
This is the first time a different car has been used in the main race.
The real-life Cup Series will also race at Darlington this weekend, coincidentally where many drivers will feature retro paint schemes honouring past drivers, sponsors and events.
The remaining three races following Darlington in the Pro Invitational Series are yet to be confirmed.
Changes in Gen-7 car: what we know so far
18’ wheels up from 15’, with a single central locking nut rather than five lug nuts
Independent rear suspension
Symmetrical body work
Diffuser for the first time
Allows a clamp-on fuel hose rather than gas cylinder bottle
New split exhaust, changes sound